Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Jan. 4, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother—and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth—that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.
Alice was the daughter of Belinda Amorous, the bestselling romance novelist dubbed as the Queen of Romance, who has been dealing with her mother's bipolar disorder for years. With her mother admitted in a mental hospital and her having to keep it a secret from the public, life has been pretty hard for the 16-year-old. Her mother's next book long overdue and her publisher was threatening to take back her mom's advance and royalty payments, Alice needed to write her mom's next book book pronto. When a strange guy claiming to be the real-life Cupid shows up demanding she write his story, he may be the answer to her prayers despite her disbelief that he's a mythological god.
Although Mad Love deals a serious topic (bipolar disorder) I thought it a quick, enjoyable read. It puts a different spin on the Cupid/Psyche mythology that I really liked and it's a nice mix of romance and real-life issues. I thought the characters were okay in the beginning but as the story went on you grow to sort of care for them, especially Alice and Errol. Alice, in particular, was dealing with a lot of stuff that you just want to hug her. The other secondary characters were okay too and provided some comedic relief--I especially liked Mrs. Bobot, Reverend Ruttles and Archibald, the tenants in Alice's apartments. They were the sort of people I would want to take care of me.
The pacing of the book was steady--there was no real surprises or plot twists. I was actually waiting for some big secret reveal or a twist in Alice and Errol's relationship but there was none. In the end, I am glad the author left their relationship the way she did as it made it all the more special. Love is one of the themes in the book and I liked that it didn't just deal with romantic love but more with familial, friendship and neighborly love. Mad Love is one of those books that I enjoyed and liked overall but it left me wanting more--more character development maybe? More emotion? I know I'm not making any sense but I just didn't feel as involved in the story or feel that deeper emotion for Alice or Errol and what they were going through. But for the most part, I thought Mad Love is a quick, easy standalone read with a feel-good message. 3.75 out of 5 stars